“Letting go of something is so much more beautiful than possessing it” via @zen_habits.
In anticipation of the holiday onslaught of new brightly-colored plastic toys adding to our collection of old brightly-colored plastic toys, I’m thinking about packing away all of my son’s toys. Or at least 90% of them.
I think it will be an interesting experiment to see if:
a) They ‘ll notice
b) They’ll mind
c) If they find new uses for old toys
d) If they’ll make toys out of other objects (i.e. wooden spoons)
Stay tuned for the before and after.
In the meantime, tell me, have you ever done a major toy cleansing? What were the results?
Somehow we have never had professional shots taken of our kids, despite the fact that my husband and I run a boutique digital agency and work with amazing photographers all the time. Figuring the guys we use for corporate projects probably had little interest in coming over to the house on Saturday to hang with us and 2 very young kids, I went on a search to find someone local.
My requirements: A photographer whose business name did not involve the words “Bubbles,” “Sweeties” or “Polka-Dots.” Once I found someone amazing and convinced her to do a kid shoot, I started digging up some examples of the types of shots I hoped to get.
Here’s what we came up with
My vision emerged a relaxed, family shoot to take place in two locations—the master bedroom and outside our front door. For the bedroom shots, I wanted the kids in white with their pudgy little legs sticking out, so I put our infant in a white onesie and our toddler in a white t-shirt.
When we moved outside, I dressed them in cream sweaters and dark pants. I wore a light cream sweater and jeans. My husband doesn’t let me pick out his clothes, so I don’t remember what he wore. I wanted to avoid the “family on a beach” setting, so I made sure we didn’t all match too well. And we didn’t go to a beach.
The brilliance of this plan was that it looks like we got two separate photoshoots—which means we’ll get more mileage out of the photos.
Here are the shots I found for inspiration, which all happen to be from the same photographer. And later, I’ll share what we ended up with.
Sharon Suh photography
How great is this? It looks like they just came in from the swimming pool and started jumping on their parent’s bed. So unstaged. So full of life.
Sharon Suh photography
A beautiful portrait of mom and baby with the background adding texture but not competing with the faces. Love how the mom’s hair looks like it’s part of nature.
Sharon Suh photography
As a mother of boys, this one really stood out for me. It looks like a magazine profile piece. Very Kennedy-esque. Just when the boys are seeming too staged in their wardrobe, the shirtless one comes into view. So summer house. So fantastic.
Sharon Suh photography
And perhaps the most stunning one for last—
All of these images came from the website of Sharon Suh, a West Hollywood, CA photographer. Check her out.
Breastfeeding (If you so choose)
If at first you don’t succeed, call a lactation consultant. If she isn’t nice, find another one. These people have decades of experience and want nothing more than to help you feed your baby. Katie Powers in Florida was a godsend to me, and the lactation consultant I had in Sleepy Hollow, NY fought to get my baby out of the NICU the first day post c-section so I could nurse him. Lactation consultants are angels disguised as boppy pillow- breast pump-toting nurses.
Pump, and pump a lot. Stock up the fridge with reserves for when you go back to work. Money in the bank.
Don’t buy a cupboard full of one type of bottle until you know for sure your baby likes it. Pre-baby, I had no idea babies had bottle preferences. I thought bottle selection was all about BPA and good design. Thus, I had a cupboard full of Born Free along with some other cool designs we found at Giggle, only to find out my son wouldn’t drink from a silicone nipple. (I was too tired to even attempt to figure out why.)
What worked best? Cheap-o Playtex Drop-Ins. Nothing “green” or pretty about them. Worked like a charm.
For baby #2, we got a free Playtex Ventaire (the bendy kind) at the hospital. I never would have bought this bottle, but baby loved it. However, he would only use the thin version, not the wide bottle version. (I learned this after buying a whole mess of wide ones.)
Do not buy a truckload of N, 1, or 2 size diapers! They will fly through these sizes and you’ll be stuck with them. In fact, you’ve probably inherited a bunch of these anyway–for exactly this reason.
Diapers.com is a lifesaver. I tried their brand of diapers after Pampers changed to that nasty “Dry Max” technology, and they are fantastic.
Buying Baby Stuff
Order everything online. Diapers.com gets to our house in 2 days flat. If they don’t have it, Amazon.com will.
The Amazon.com Prime membership is worth every penny. It gets you free 2-day shipping and overnight shipping for $3.99/item. This means you can also order last-minute birthday party gifts without having to endure a toy store on your lunch break.
Some babies fall into their own rhythm. Others really need your help. My firstborn was one of those. When he was 5 months old, a friend of a friend recommended The Contented Little Baby. I still worship the ground that friend’s friend walks on. Even if you don’t need to put your child on a rigid schedule, this book of daily schedules for your baby’s first year, gives you a rough idea of what a day should look like.
I remember being a new mom and trying to arrange playdates. “What times are good for you? Our times are x and x,” moms would write. I had no idea what times were good for us. Until this book.
2 Biggest Takeaways from The Contented Little Baby:
* You need to get your kid up and start feeding them in order to fit in x number of feedings per day if you want them to sleep at night.
* Every nap affects how well your child will or won’t sleep at night. If they nap too long, too late in the day, OR too short or too early in the day, you’re probably looking at a crappy night sleep.
On Getting Through the Day
There will come a time when your cuddly newborn expects you to play. All. Day. Long. And having one-sided conversations about trucks gets old when you’re living off 2 hours of consecutive sleep, decaf and mini-muffins. Get out of the house. You’ll feel less tired than if you’re on the floor rolling a ball back and forth. And it’s absolutely amazing how getting a cranky kid out of the house snaps them out of it. And if you’re lucky, baby will be exhausted by the time you get home and will sleep for a couple of hours. At which point you should NOT be doing the dishes–hello!
“Sleep when the baby sleeps” is probably the best advice in the world. Such good advice, in fact, that in our house, we call it “sleep when the
little monsters toddlers sleep” and will probably keep amending it all the way through their adulthood.
How much you sleep at night has a direct correlation with how much you’ll cry during the day. This is normal. It will pass.
Don’t judge how you feel about work until you are a week or so away from the end of your maternity leave. When baby #1 was four weeks old, I couldn’t imagine being well enough or having the brainpower or even interest in going back to work. By 6 weeks, I was thankful to have an office to go to a couple times a week.
You’ll probably never be quite happy with whatever work/at home arrangement you have. Try to stick to whatever decision you’ve made for a few months without thinking about it constantly. Give it a good trial run. Then, if it’s not working, you can test drive a new schedule.
Remember how I said it will pass? Well if it doesn’t, talk to your doctor. Seriously. I had NO idea I had a form of PPD. And I read the Brooke Shields book! Somehow, when you are in it, you are least likely to see it. If something doesn’t feel right, let your doctor know. I wish I could get those months back of feeling like an anxious wreck.